How to Create a Successful Online Business: 8 Steps to Success

The internet is here to stay.  You can either sit on the sidelines and just enjoy the internet for your own personal use, or you can leverage this marvelous piece of technology and create a successful online business of your own!

I truly believe that everyone should have their own online business, even if it is something small that they do part-time!  Yes, I love network marketing.  But my blog is my real business.  My network marketing company is just one income stream within my online business.  I hope that makes sense.

What I want to do in the rest of this post is share my best tips for creating a successful online business. Please know that this applies to any type of online business. If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way.  Let’s get started.

Step # 1: Brainstorm Ideas

Your first step to create an online business is to brainstorm potential ideas. Some of the common business models include paid surveys, eBay, affiliate marketing, network marketing, blogging, membership sites, virtual assistant, freelancers, and more. If you have an idea that is a different business model, that’s fine too. I suggest you take your time and make a list of at least 10 potential ideas that interest you.  Rank your ideas by how much you think you would enjoy them and what type of potential they offer.

Step # 2: Evaluate the Competition

You have to spend some time evaluating your competitors. Who are they? What do you like about their business? What could you do differently to stand out in the crowd? I recommend you study the top 10 competitors in whatever niche or business model you like most to determine (1) if you can compete with them, (2) if you can spin one of their ideas to take a different approach, and (3) to see what they are doing right and wrong. You should spend 2-3 weeks studying your competition, to figure out what you need to do to succeed. This will save you lots of time and money in the long run.

Step # 3: Choose Best Idea

Once you do your research and evaluate your competition, I recommend you choose the best idea. It helps if you can find something you are passionate about. But that’s not a requirement. If your favorite idea proves unworthy, stick with the best idea.  You want a business model that makes sense, is doable, interests you, and offers plenty of opportunity to make money.

Step # 4: Develop a Business Plan and Marketing Plan

This is where most entrepreneurs fail. Most people who think about creating an online business never take the time to develop a written business plan and marketing plan for their new venture. You need to do this. Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail.  You need to determine (1) your ideal customer, (2) who your competition is, (3) what your unique selling proposition is, (4) how you will make money, and (5) how you will find customers. You should also make a list of critical tasks you must do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Step # 5: Determine the Capital Requirements

Once you have a written business plan, you must determine your capital requirements. If it is a large project and requires additional funding, you can seek out partners. Another idea is to start small, while you keep your day job. If possible, I recommend you avoid going into debt to build your new online business. To determine how much money you will need, make a list of everything you can think of. This includes domain name, website hosting, website design, consulting, etc. When you come up with a total amount, triple it to be safe.

Step # 6: Find a Mentor

Now that you have a written business plan and know how much money you need to invest to get started, your next step is to find a mentor. Try to find someone who has already achieved success with what you want to do. Give them a call or email them. Offer to take them out to lunch. Pick their brain. While some people might not be willing to share their success story or ideas with you, others will. If you can’t find a mentor in the same area of expertise, find someone who has done something similar.

Step # 7: Get Started

Your next step to creating an online business is to get started. I recommend you start small. Once again, keep your day job if possible. Follow your list of critical tasks in order. Realize that 10% of the work you do produces 90% of the results. So focus on the first things first. Get started today, but think long-term. Do something to grow your business every single day. Don’t expect instant success. Most businesses take a year or two to get profitable, and several years to make a nice income.

Step # 8: Evaluate Your Progress and Make Small Adjustments

Each month, spend a few hours evaluating your progress. Try to make a spreadsheet to track your key performance indicators. Compare your progress from month to month. Make necessary changes as required. If you get stuck in a rut, seek help. If you have a monthly spreadsheet, you won’t get frustrated as much, because you can see your progress each month. This will help keep you on track.  I would guess that within six to twelve months you will find out if your good idea is really a good idea after all.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, creating an online business is similar to creating a traditional business. Your key to success is to do your homework, before you start the business. Make sure you come up with a winning idea and develop a business and marketing plan to implement that idea. Try to avoid going into debt, if possible. Next, find a mentor to help coach you and guide you. Finally, track your progress from month to month and think long-term. If you can follow the advice listed above, creating a successful online business that produces a solid income should be fairly easy to do.

What are your thoughts on this subject?  Leave a comment below to let us know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

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4 thoughts on “How to Create a Successful Online Business: 8 Steps to Success

  1. I also wanted to add that no matter which method you choose, consistency is quite important. If you are a blogger, but you only post a blog post every once in awhile, people will not take you serious. It goes that way with any online business; we need to treat it just as we would a traditional business. We need to have working hours and stay consistent with them.

    People make a good living having an online business, but you can not just put it up and assume it will run on auto pilot. It take hard work, and staying consistent the whole way.

    • Yes, being consistent in any type of online business is very important.

  2. I really like what you said about evaluating the competition Chuck. I agree. We can learn from our competition, both good and bad, and learn to offer something different, and better than what they offer.

    I also am in firm agreement with making small adjustments. If we make too many adjustments, or too large of adjustments, we really have no idea what worked and what didn’t.

    Thanks for this post. Yes, I already do a lot online, but there is always room to learn.

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